It was a copy of the Dao De Jing that had been translated by my father's friend Moss Roberts. My mom picked it up at the book party and had Moss sign it to me. The inscription says "To Ben, Maybe you can figure some of this stuff out." My father is mentioned in the forward of the book as a personal tradgedy of Mosses as he started to write the book. This brought stuff flooding back, like how respected my father was by his colleagues and friends and how much of that respect tended to rub off on me, and how impersonal the tragedy felt when he died. Like there were so many others who wanted a piece of the pain and as his son I wasn't given first crack at the mourning. One of my mom's friends even read a monologue I wrote for school at his memorial service, taking my words and putting them in to her voice. It also reminded me of the great things I was supposed to do. I was always seen as having a bright future following in the footsteps of my father. Nobody told me that he was going to stop making them before I became a teenager. I want to be the man I was meant to be, but I don't know how to forging my way through this jungle life without the guide that I was promised. I just don't know how.
It makes me sad to think about what I should have had. And I'm not talking cars or houses or fancy clothes. I'm talking about my father, or at least a chance to say goodbye to him. I see everyone else having a chance to work things out with their dads and trying to please them and I know that I will never have, never had that opportunity.
And then there's the question that Jeff can't answer. How am I supposed to become the person I want to be, that I was supposed to be, without invalidating his influence. If I do it on my own doesn't that mean that he didn't matter as much?
I'm ashamed of who I am and afraid to become who I could be. Rock, hard place, me in between. And due to my shell nobody cares anymore but me. Depressed, isolated, screwed up family, I am my father's son.